This was a playful and fun book, with a few flaws.
Sabrina and Daphne's parents disapear one day out of the blue, and the police can't find them. TheyThis was a playful and fun book, with a few flaws.
Sabrina and Daphne's parents disapear one day out of the blue, and the police can't find them. They bounce from one horrible foster home to another, until an old lady comes forward claiming to be their Grandmother. This is weird, because their parents told them their Grandmother was dead. When they meet her, she tells them that they are descended from The Brother's Grimm, who wrote down true events that occured with real creatures. All of these creatures have now moved to America, and live in the town that they are now in. It is the Grimm's family job to keep these fairy tale creatures in line, which is a big job.
One thing that really bugged me was that the story is told through Sabrina's pov, and she spends the first 100 pages doubting everything and being a brat. I think the story would have been a lot more enjoyable if it had been told through Daphne's pov. She's a sweet girl, and it would have made it a much better story. There are also several flaws. The most glaring one is that the Grimm's, generations ago, bonded the fairy tale creatures to the one town, but the catch was that they bonded themselves there too. If the Grimm's can't leave that town, how did Sabrina and Daphne's father move to NYC, and how did they live there themselves? It's never explained. Another flaw is how many story creatures this town has. Okay, there are the Grimm creatures, and Hans Christian Anderson, and the Wizard of Oz, and Alice in Wonderland, and Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, but then later on in the story, King Arthur shows up. At some point the author has to draw a line, before it becomes every creature from every story, and not just fairy tale creatures.
Overall it was a fun, original, fractured take on the fairy tales. There were jokes that rewarded you for having read the fairy tales, and also from these creatures having to interact with the modern world. The kind of humor you would find in Jasper Fforde's stories, and that I particularly like. It also has a good plot, with a twist at the end that I really didn't expect, which I find very rarely in books on the junior side of the library. On top of that, it's a cute little book, with pages about the size of my hand:) It's a shame that the flaws were so glaring and detracted from an otherwise really cute book. There's a second in the series, and I'm definitely going to read it. I bet it will be a lot more enjoyable now that Sabrina is not doubting everything around her!...more
Ergh. I was disapointed in this book, and didn't finish it. If they had stuck to the title and really made it about those 9 weeks, then it could haveErgh. I was disapointed in this book, and didn't finish it. If they had stuck to the title and really made it about those 9 weeks, then it could have been a really interesting book. Instead, the author went off on so many side-tangents and history and unecessary details that the narrative thread of those 9 weeks was lost. I would space out when it would get to another passage (for example, describing the history of the church they were painting for a page and a half) and then I wouldn't notice when it would get back to the narrative because my mind had wandered, and my eyes were just moving along the page. The final nail in the coffin was that I am leaving for a trip, across Washington, to Spokane tomorrow, and I was dreading having to read this book for hours on end. Never a good sign! It's really disapointing because those 9 weeks were really interesting, leading up to when Van Gogh cut off his ear, and the book includes letters, and black and white copies of what they were painting at the time, on almost every page. I just wish the author had stuck to the straight and narrow more, and edited out all the tangents!...more
This was a pretty enjoyable read. It's a modern update (of a sort) of Hamlet. The narrator is a British teenage boy whose father is recently dead, andThis was a pretty enjoyable read. It's a modern update (of a sort) of Hamlet. The narrator is a British teenage boy whose father is recently dead, and comes to him as a ghost, and tells him that he was murdered by the boy's uncle, and if the boy does not kill the man who killed him, he won't be able to move on, and will be stuck as a ghost forever in 'The Terrors' which is never explained. All it says is, "when Dad told me what the Terrors was, I knew I had to help him." Um...care to share with the reader??? The best part of the book was the writing. I thought of Homer Simpson watching TV and saying, "it's funny because it's true!" Well, this book was brilliant because it was true. The writing didn't break any new ground, but it was written with such truth about how life is day to day. Especially the main character. I've never been a teenage boy:) but there was such a truth to his perspective that he was really understandable. I also liked the short chapters. So, why only 3 stars? Well, for one thing, I was expecting it to be a lighter read, but like Hamlet, the boy in this becomes tormented, especially in the last 1/2 of the book. He's a good person, and he doesn't want to have to kill anyone. In fact, I found the father quite selfish. He doesn't care at all what he asks his son to do, and keeps making more and more demands upon him. I really wished someone (well only the boy could see him) would tell him off. Given that it's a take-off of Hamlet, I should have guessed it was going to be dark, but the jacket synopsis is very misleading. For another big thing, there is no punctuation. No comas, no quotes, barely any periods. I have a hard enough time without quotes, and I had an even harder time with this. It pulled you away from the story to constantly have to puzzle out what's really being said and by who. I think there's no reason to leave out punctuation, and it's always going to be a star minus for me. Also, the ending is an open one. You're left not knowing what's going to happen to the main characters. Never a good thing in my book! ...more
This book was recommended to me by the children's librarian at the library I work at. She saw I was reading Stowaway, also by the same author, and I mThis book was recommended to me by the children's librarian at the library I work at. She saw I was reading Stowaway, also by the same author, and I mentioned I liked epistolary novels, so she recommended this one. It was really good, and had the feel of Homer's Odyssey in a way. It's about a Russian Jewish girl during WWI, who escapes with her family to go to America. They all get sick with typhoid on their way, and they get better, but she gets sick again before they board a boat to America, and they won't let her on the boat, so her family goes on without her, and she has to stay in Budapest by herself until she gets better. Many more tragedies befall her on her way to America. I liked the part of the story that takes place on Ellis Island, because I have relatives from Ireland who went through there, and I've visited it myself. A lot of sad things happen in this story, and I was thinking this was going to be another tearful book, especially after the end of the last book I read made me cry, but Rifka has such a positive outlook on life, and the book has such a quick pace, that you quickly go from experience to experience without it getting really depressing. ...more